I was chatting with a friend/client recently when the conversation drifted to the many amazing tech breakthroughs we’ve seen in the past few years. As amazing as iPhones, Twitter, and the like are, I still think one of the biggest boosts Internet use got was when the barriers between email services came down.
It’s hard to remember, but there was a time not so long ago, when AOL email users could only send and receive email from other AOL users. Ditto for Compuserve, ATTMail and the rest. Each was an isolated silo with no inter-connectivity.
Those of us trying to do business via email had to have separate paid accounts with each service. Yes, kids, you had to pay for email in those days. (Music, too.) Then depending on the speed of your modem (56K? Wow!) and dial-up connection, you spent 5-10 minutes several times a day, checking each separate account for new messages.
I remember how thrilled I was when some forgotten geek wrote a batch script that automated the process. It automatically logged in to each account, downloaded your new messages, sent the ones you’d written (offline, of course), logged off, then repeated the process for all the others. You could check all your email accounts while enjoying a cup of coffee.
All those different email addresses didn’t exactly encourage Luddite clients to embrace this revolutionary approach to communications, either. And let’s not even talk about the mess your business card and sig file became with so many entries.
It’s much better today. The only thing your business card or sig file really needs is your email address. Oh, your work and cell phone numbers, too. And the name of your company.
Wait, don’t forget URLs for your website(s), Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle…
Mailing address? Hmmm, there might be room if we skip your name…